Khao Yai National Park Thailand
- Khao Yai is Thailand's oldest National Park and the most accessible from Bangkok.
Khao Yai National Park includes the western end of the Dongrak Mountains which
are the natural border with Cambodia. It is in Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima and Saraburi Provinces.
- Khao Yai has excellent forests in this 2,168 square kilometre reserve. The Park is substantially situated on the Korat Plateau which is undulating plateau of sand stone. This is broken up by river valleys as deep as 60 metres (195 feet) in some places thus providing diversity for plants and animals.
- Khao Yai is home to over 70 species of mammals, over 340 species of birds, and 2,500 vascular plants, the predominant vegetation is dense evergreen forest. The larger mammals include elephants, deer, wild pigs, wild cattle, primates (gibbons and macaques), tigers, leopards and wild cats, 20 species of bats, flying squirrels, civets, porcupines and wild dogs.
Khao Yai ecosystems, vegetation, climate, animals and birds are more particularly detailed below.
Tourist Attractions at Kao Yai National Park
Kao Yai Viewpoints,
scenery, wild animals, waterfalls, cliffs and landscape of mountain topography.
Over 30 major waterfalls, including, Kong Kaeo, Pha Kluai Mai, Heo Suwat, Heo Narok, Nang Rong and Sarika Waterfalls
- Mo Singtp Tower Viewpoint
- Nong Phak Chi Tower Viewpoint
Geography of Khao Yai National Park
- The rugged western half of Khao Yai National Park lies on Permo- Triassic igneous volcanic rocks. To the south and east this is replaced by Jurassic calcareous and micaceous siltstones and sandstones. In the northwest part of Khao Yai there are small areas of limestone karst with steep cliffs, gorges, columns and caves. All of Thap Lan, as far as upland Ta Phraya, forms the rim of the quartz rich sandstone Korat Plateau, the edge of which is the Phanom Dongrek range and escarpment. Formation of the Phanom Dongrek escarpment is attributed to crustal uptilting.
- Annual rainfall over the complex ranges from 3000mm in the west to under 1000mm in the east, mainly during the southwest monsoon between May and October. Higher elevations and south facing slopes, in common with the rest of Thailand’s lower central plains, receive more rain. Khao Yai National Park is the wettest area, averaging 2270 mm per annum. There is a long dry season between November to April when moist evergreen forests retain their humidity but which favours the growth of dry open forest towards the east.
- The complex has a well defined topographic, climatic and vegetation east-west gradient. It contains all major habitat types of eastern Thailand and at least 2500 plant species are recorded ( 16 endemic ) of the 20,000 to 25,000 species estimated for Thailand.
- Within the area three main types of vegetation are dominant: evergreen forests ( 73.8% of all five reserves ), mixed dipterocarp deciduous forest ( 5.3% ) and deforested scrub, grassland and secondary growth ( 18% ). The first two categories, with karst and riverine ecosystems, comprise the most significant habitats.
- The evergreen forests are of three types: dry ( 28.7% ), moist evergreen above 600 meters ( 25.8% ) and hill and lower montane rainforests ( 19.3% ). They provide a wide range of ecosystems and habitats. The dipterocarp deciduous mixed forests provide a similarly wide range but in drier fire-prone areas with sandy soils. As well as mixed forests the drier areas include dry dipterocarp forest and grassland.
- The small area of karst in the northwest of Khao Yai National Park has distinctive microhabitats. Riverine ecosystems wind through other forest types, with distinct features and limited habitats such as cascades, waterfalls and deep pools.
- More than 80% of Khao Yai National Park is covered in evergreen or semi-evergreen forest, much of it tall, good quality primary forest. Moist and dry evergreen forests also occur in the other protected areas of the complex: Thap Lan 59%, Pang Sida 86.5%, Ta Phraya 72.5%, and Dong Yai 70.6%. A greater proportion ( 32% ) of Thap Lan has been degraded, mostly through loss of dry dipterocarp forest by clearing for agriculture and tree plantations in the northern and northwestern sections. However, it also has about 700 hectares of the fan-leafed corypha or lan palm, on the leaves of which Buddhist sermons were originally inscribed.
- Pang Sida has wide south-facing hill-slope habitats. There are also extensive areas of bamboo forest.
- In Ta Phraya 25% and in Dong-Yai almost 20% of the land is grassland or scrub. The protected areas in the DPKY complex were logged to a varying extent prior to the declaration of the 1989 logging ban by the Thailand Government, with secondary regrowth forest succession evident in many areas. Nevertheless, there are significant core areas of primary forest in all protected areas of the complex, as evidenced in a low altitude overflight during the evaluation mission.
- The complex contains more than 800 fauna species, and protects some of the largest remaining populations in the region of many important wildlife species.
- A total of 112 species of mammals are known from the four parks: in Khao Yai 72 species, Thap Lan 76 species, Pang Sida 85 species and Ta Phraya 21 species. Complete data are not yet available for Dong Yai but the wildlife sanctuary is known to contain important large mammal species. Globally threatened mammals found in the complex include the Asian Elephant, Tiger, Leopard Cat, Clouded Leopard, Marbled Cat, Asian Golden Cat, Pigtailed Macaque, Stump-tailed Macaque, Pileated Gibbon, Asiatic Black Bear, Malayan Sun Bear, Asiatic Wild Dog, Large Spotted Civet, Malayan Porcupine, Wild Pig, Serow, Banteng and Gaur. The karst area has endemic species of reptiles and bats ( 63 reptile species are recorded in Khao Yai ). Important riverine species include the Smooth-coated Otter and the endangered Siamese Crocodile, rediscovered in Pang Sida NP in 1992. The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation is currently implementing a scientifically controlled crocodile re-introduction programme in Pang Sida NP in collaboration with Mahidol and Kasetsart Universities.
- Khao Yai National Park is scientifically important at a global scale, as it is the only known location where White-handed and Pileated Gibbon species have overlapping ranges and interbreed. Other notable species found in the complex include: Long-tailed Macaque, Silvered Langur, White-handed Gibbon, Slow Loris, Malayan Pangolin, Black Giant Squirrel, Hairy-footed Flying Squirrel, Whitehead’s Rat, Brush-tailed Porcupine, Palm Civet, Binturong, Marbled Cat, Jungle Cat and Leopard. There are also unconfirmed reports of Wild Water Buffalo. Recent surveys of herpetofauna indicate more than 200 species of reptiles and amphibians, with nine endemic species.
- A total of 392 species of birds have been recorded within the DPKY-FC:
- Khao Yai 358 species,
- Thap Lan 284 species,
- Pang Sida 238 species and
- Ta Phraya 200 species.
- The complex provides resident habitat for three globally threatened bird species: Pale-capped Pigeon and Silver Oriole ( evergreen forest ), Green Peafowl ( dipterocarp/ deciduous forest ) and Masked Finfoot ( riverine habitat ). In addition, 53 species considered nationally threatened or near threatened occur including four species of hornbill. Some 12.5% of birds are vagrant or passage migrants, including the Spot-billed Pelican and Greater Adjutant.